The troublesome truth is that
there is no apartheid in Israel. Israel allows Arabs and Muslims full
human and civil rights in all areas of life, including as full members
of Israel's Parliament, the Knesset.
To brand Israel as an apartheid state when none of these restrictions
exist is not only defamatory propaganda but, according to the black
South African Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, trivializes the real suffering of
blacks under apartheid.
While Tutu et al discuss Israel the "oppressor," Israel's surrounding
enemies seek to obliterate it in accordance with their genocidal
charter. Given the silence of Tutu et al on that subject, apparently an
agenda of genocide is not seen by them as an injustice.
Tutu also disregards the countless Christians being slaughtered in
Muslim states; that black slaves are still being held in Muslim states
such as Mauritania; the forcible taking of "infidel" slaves by Boko
Haram and ISIS; the racist genocide in Darfur and the 10 million Muslims
slaughtered by other Muslims since 1948.
Critics of Sabeel suggest that it actually seems to be a political
organization promoting anti-Israel propaganda while driving Church
policy toward destroying Israel through BDS.
Why are Desmond Tutu, Sabeel and the anti-Semitic Churches that
support BDS so tolerant of the persecution of Christians, global
Islamist terrorism, the perpetual threat of Israel's obliteration and
the fact that Muslims have driven Christians out of Bethlehem, the very
place of Jesus's birth?
These calumnies and misrepresentations have nothing to do with peace
and even less to do with justice. They are even more unacceptable coming
from church groups or a man of the cloth.
A virulent global campaign by a powerful Christian lobby is trying to
influence the Church and use it to delegitimize Israel. The lobbying
group is the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, with Nobel
Prize Laureate and retired Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu as its patron
Tutu not only agreed
to serve as Sabeel's patron but also to "assist the Palestinian
Christian organization in its outreach and development work with
Christian Churches around the world."
On its website, Sabeel
refers to Israel in terms such as "oppressor," "occupier," "immoral", a
violator of Palestinian human rights and its founder, Naim Ateek, refers
to Israel's "crucifixion" of Palestinians:
"It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of
thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and
children being crucified.... The Israeli government crucifixion system
is operating daily."
As a principal agent of the Sabeel lobby, Desmond Tutu's words
of indictment reference Israel as the "oppressor."
Tutu knows hate first-hand from South African apartheid, but acutely
damages his stature and credibility by unjustly exploiting the tragedy
inflicted by the South African regime. He does this in a defamatory
propaganda message permeating the Christian Church under liberation
theology. He stated outright in an article
"I know firsthand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within
its borders and through its occupation. The parallels to my own beloved
South Africa are painfully stark indeed." Meanwhile, Israel allows Arabs
and Muslims full human rights in all areas of life, including as full
members of Israel's Parliament, the Knesset.
Liberation theology is a radical movement
that originally developed in South America before making its way to
South Africa. The movement was apparently created in response to poverty
and ill-treatment of ordinary people. It was caricatured in the phrase
, "If Jesus Christ were on Earth today, he would be a Marxist revolutionary."
Liberation theology subsequently became influential
in the Churches under South African apartheid. Black theologians, to
answer the faith questions of the poor and oppressed, confronted the
theology of the Christian status quo, which tended to align with the
prevailing institutions of power. Hence, in 1985, the Kairos document
was developed, which offered a necessary alternative to biblical and
theological models. In essence, the Kairos document focused on the
message of liberation theology
by encouraging the reading and interpreting of the bible through the eyes of the poor.
To the theologians, the Kairos document was a challenge
to the church to rise up against apartheid. The theologians deemed it
to be "the moment of grace and opportunity, the favorable time in which
God issues a challenge to decisive action." They continued: "If this
opportunity is missed, and allowed to pass by, the loss for the Church,
for the Gospel and for all the people of South Africa will be
What was once crafted as a just challenge to the Church in 1985 thus
became warped into propaganda in 2009, when a new document, the Kairos Palestine
, was written. Although based on the same "faith questions of the poor
and oppressed" under the South African apartheid regime, this time the
Palestinians were presented as the equivalently oppressed.
While Tutu et al discuss Israel the "oppressor," Israel's surrounding enemies seek to obliterate it in accordance with their genocidal charter
. Given the silence of Tutu et al on that subject, apparently an agenda of genocide is not seen by them as an injustice.
Continuing to misuse South African black suffering as a launch pad,
Tutu has also been forceful in his push for Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. He states
that BDS helped to achieve South African democracy and that BDS will
work toward ending "Israel's decades long occupation of Palestinian
territory and the unfair and prejudicial treatment of the Palestinian
people by the Israeli government ruling over them" -- despite the fact
that Jews have lived in the area for nearly 4,000 years.
Tutu also states: "I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of
Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security
forces... their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who
were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security
forces of the apartheid government."
The troublesome truth, however, is that there is no apartheid in Israel
Black South African Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, founder and president of
the African Christian Democratic Party and member of the South African
parliament since 1994, indicates
that under apartheid South Africa, blacks could not vote or hold high
government positions; the races were strictly segregated at sports
arenas, schools, hospitals, public transportation, public washrooms,
benches in waiting rooms; and blacks had inferior medical care,
hospitals, and education; they were forced to live in separate
residential enclaves. Blacks also carried IDs to show their place of
residence at all times, or they faced the penalty of being beaten or
thrown in jail. In other words, blacks were criminalized for being black
and severely restricted by state laws. Further, marriage was also
outlawed between different races.
To brand Israel as an apartheid state, when none of these restrictions exist, is not only defamatory propaganda, but, according
to Meshoe, trivializes the real suffering of blacks under apartheid.
Meshoe has visited Israel many times, and says that he has never seen
any evidence of apartheid. In his reference to the purely defensive
so-called "apartheid" wall, Meshoe accurately calls it the "security"
barrier. "It is the responsibility of every government to assure the
safety of its citizens," he says.
While Sabeel states
its mission support of the "oppressed" Palestinians of the "indigenous
Church," it never highlights the oppression and abuses of Palestinians
by their own leadership, or the leadership of other countries hosting
them such as Jordan or Lebanon. Tutu also disregards the abuses by
Hamas, which uses its Palestinian citizens as human shields in its wars
to obliterate Israel.
As the patron of Sabeel Center, Tutu also disregards the countless
Christians being slaughtered in Muslim states; that black slaves are
still being held
in Muslim states such as Mauritania; the forcible taking
of "infidel" slaves and sex slaves by Boko Haram and ISIS; the racist genocide in Darfur and the 10 million Muslims slaughtered
by other Muslims since 1948.
from top right: Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu; Anti-semitic writer Max
Blumenthal addresses the Friends of Sabeel North America 2014
conference; A Friends of Sabeel North America activist in Portland,
Oregon stands in front of a Target store, demanding the boycott of
SodaStream, an Israeli company.
Critics of Sabeel suggest
that it actually seems to be a political organization promoting anti-Israel propaganda in Christian churches globally, while driving
Church policy toward destroying Israel through BDS.
Sabeel also states
that, "for many years the Palestinians rejected the establishment of
the state of Israel because it was founded on the denial and violation
of Palestinian rights."
Historically, however, it is the Jews -- then
Romans, then Christians, then Arabs then later the Turks -- who lived on
that land during nearly 4,000 years. Historically, it has always been
the Arabs who rejected all Jewish rights, including, in the last
century, their rejection of the UN partition plan. On the day of
Israel's founding in 1948, a group of Arab armies invaded Israel. The
Palestinians also refused to make even a counter-offer to generous plans
set forth by Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, both
of which offered 97% of everything the Palestinians were demanding.
According to a brief
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, face-to-face surveys found
that most Palestinians in east Jerusalem would prefer to become citizens
of Israel rather than citizens of a new Palestinian state.
One must ask, then, why is it that Desmond Tutu, Sabeel and the
anti-Semitic churches that support BDS are so tolerant of the
persecution of Christians, global Islamist terrorism, the perpetual
threat of Israel's obliteration and the fact that Muslims have driven
Christians out of Bethlehem, the very place of Jesus's birth?
Bethlehem's Christians accounted for over 85% of the population in 1948, and the number dwindled
since then, to 12% in 2006. The disputed territories of the West Bank
and Gaza have for years been administered by the Palestinian Authority
(PA) and by an elected Hamas. Under these regimes, Christian Arabs have
been victims of human rights abuses
including beatings, torture, kidnappings, forced marriages, sexual
harassment, intimidation, land thefts, firebombing of churches, denial
of employment and economic boycotts.
In addition, PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas has declared
about a future Palestinian state: "In a final resolution, we would not
see the presence of a single Israeli -- civilian or soldier -- on our
lands." And a declaration like that is not
Friends of Sabeel conferences continue to take place several times
annually in major North American cities, where calls for BDS are
sounded, and where "overcoming Christian Zionism in a quest for Justice"
in "seeking the peace of Jerusalem" is a major theme
These calumnies and misrepresentations of Israel have nothing to do
with peace and even less to do with justice. They are even more
unacceptable coming from church groups or a man of the cloth.